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Active Reviewing Tips 1.5   Reflection Icons

A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . T I P S   Vol. 1.5  October 1998.
Welcome to Volume 1 Issue 5 of ...
~~~~~~ A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . T I P S
~~~~~~ the free monthly ezine linked to the web-based
• Reviewing Tips: REFLECTION ICONS (Guest Contributor)
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~~~~~~ From the editor ~~~~~~
( ....... The 'how' part comes in the next issue)
Reviewing tends to happen AFTER the action.
Take a look at any learning cycle and you'll see that's where
reviewing appears to 'belong'. You do something, THEN you review
it. You experience, THEN you reflect.
As a general rule that's a sound idea. But there are exceptions.
Also, by only reviewing AFTER the event, you close off some
important options for reviewing at other times.
The trouble with any learning sequence is that it encourages you
to do just one thing at a time. Yes, some people may benefit from
a step by step approach. But most people have the ability to do
several things at once - especially when it comes to learning.
Learning is a speciality of the human race. Our brains are
capable of processing many things at once. (Yes, they are even
greater miracles than computers!) Encouraging people to process
one thing at a time does not necessarily make learning any
easier. By sticking to a step-by-step sequence, you might even be
DIS-abling people's learning abilities.
Let me give an example.
I understand French best (though not very well) when it is spoken
to me at a fairly normal pace. If I am struggling to understand
and the speaker SLOWS down for me, I will often find it even
HARDER to understand. This is because a lot of the naturally
occurring extra clues (of expression, tone, cadence, gesture
etc.) disappear when the pace s l o w s   r i g h t   d   o   w   n.
Much the same happens when learning to ride a bicycle. Slow down
too much and you fall off! I believe the same applies to learning
The big plus about experiential learning is that you learn in
REAL time. You see the big picture. And you are doing things for
real. You are not in the slow lane, learning one step at a time.
You are in the fast lane where you must attend to several things
at once.
Experience-based learning provides great opportunities for people
to switch on all of these different learning skills
simultaneously and bring them all together to 'fire on all
cylinders'. If we impose a 'one-thing-at-a-time' learning cycle
in 'review time' we risk giving out the opposite message: 'switch
everything off, except for this one thing we are now looking at'.
Ok, there are times when a single focus works well. But it may
not be good practice to get into the habit of excluding other
perspectives while focusing on just one. Aside from any other
considerations, the typical goals of much experienced-based
learning are broad multi-dimensional ones. These might be:
  • broadening horizons
  • seeing new perspectives
  • bringing out potential
  • whole person development
  • working with others
  • performing on all cylinders
  • coping with change
  • learning to learn ...
The best chances of achieving such multidimensional goals come
from working AND LEARNING in multidimensional ways.
When you next see a 'one-thing-at-a-time' approach in an
energised group, look and listen carefully and you will notice
people 'falling off their bikes' - as their energy dissipates and
their attention wanders. But not everyone. Some people thrive on
carefully sequenced analysis and are able to dismantle and
reassemble things to achieve improved performance next time
they are 'in action'.
What about those learners who are unmoved by dismantling and
reassembling? i.e. people who prefer to keep things moving, and
who prefer to learn 'on the move'?
'Reviewing in Action' is a strategy that encourages learning
WHILE doing. It mirrors the strategy of 'Active Reviewing' (or
'Reviewing by Doing') - strategies that encourage high levels of
involvement throughout a reviewing session. By combining these
strategies, the worlds of learning and action are never far
Don't worry. We can handle this 'holistic' stuff - we're built for it!
You can find the articles 'Active Reviewing' and 'Doing
Reviewing' at:
There are limitless ways in which reviewing can be introduced
WITHIN the action, ALONGSIDE the action or in 'mini-breaks'
DURING the action. All of these help to bring the worlds of doing
and reviewing closer together. Learning AFTER the event is an
excellent option, but is not the only one.
Next issue: REVIEWING in ACTION (how)

~~~~~~ Reviewing Tips ~~~~~~
Thank you to Ian Cook for these reviewing methods...
Here is a description of a simple structure for doing end of
course reviews. People can hang and shape their experience on
these 'reflection icons'.
• Light bulb moments
These are times during the course when an idea, action or phrase
has sparked a sudden realisation in someone's mind.
• Mirror moments
These are times or observations that have raised questions for
the delegate. Something that has caused them to reflect on what
they currently do. It opens up some level of debate in their
• Speaker moments
These are times when they have noticed how something someone said has changed the energy in the group for better or worse. It may also be when they have noticed how a comment changed their
perception of something.
• Linking moments
These are times when they have related something in the course to
a circumstance at work and either thought of something new to do
or gained insight into the dynamic of their current situation.
Ian writes: I have used this on several occassions and found that
the sessions almost run themselves. As soon as someone starts
telling their moments other people find links or aspects in
common. I have also found that people take to and use the
structure readily.
Ian Cook is a Training Consultant at Brathay and a creator of
experiential learning games.

~~~~~~ Site News ~~~~~~

A W A R D . W I N N E R
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recommended for the award didn't make it. Visit my home page to
find out more, or go straight to the Learning Fountain site.
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*** This offer ends SOON - on 21st October. ***
• NEW: Experiential Learning Cycles (in the research index)

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